Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Viewing the future, from the past!

"13000+ points isn't a small figure, kid" Rao Uncle exclaimed. Rao uncle is one of those vibrant middle aged men who take enormous interest in dispersing 'gyaan' to 'spring chicken' like me. He voluntarily retired (VRS) as the Deputy General Manager of the Union Bank of India and is currently working as a freelance consultant with some portfolio management firm in Hiranandani Gardens in Powai (Mumbai).

In his usual cheerful mood, he went on, "True, the sensex has spiralled down by 7000 points in the last ten months. When it was climbing up like a dream, I kept wondering - Whatever happened to gravity. During our time, the Sensex was somewhere around 3000 points." I expressed a sense of excitement at that statement. Rao uncle is one of those people who would say 'A dollar in a fund is worth two in a hand'. I started imagining the amount of cash he must have raked in, by now, with his age-old investments.

"You have such a lot of media-help to tell you where to invest, how much to invest, when to invest. The Dot Com boom has given you so many venues to weigh your investment decisions (he was referring to MoneyControl i presume). There are tons of TV channels covering the recent developments in the economy 24x7. We had just DDI and DDII during our time. We were totally dependent on the ET and our broker friends on the market floor to gain information about stocks," he said.

Meanwhile, even as uncle got busy buying his bus-ticket, i got a call from home. Mum usually likes to break out the 'Breaking News' to me. This time was no different and she came up with this mind boggling piece of 'khabar'. Anil Ambani had reportedly sued Mukesh for defamation; The amount, a whopping 10,000 Crores INR. I mentioned this piece of news to uncle. I believe he has been following the Reliance growth story right from the revered Dhirubhai's days and so he had a look of absolute disgust on his face. "Dhirubhai ka naam kharaab kar diya hai dono ne," he mumbled. "Ten years ago, this very Anil Ambani was working so close in collaboration with Mukesh. Dhirubhai was ailing but was very much alive and guiding these two in every decision of theirs. 2002 saw the demise of a great man and look at what these two have done to his name today. Shameful!", he exclaimed.

I had not started reading my daily ET yet. I usually follow a decorum and never insensitively interject when a wise man is sharing experiences. So, as uncle got ready to alight from the bus, i took out my daily copy of ET (dt 24th September 2008).

It felt somewhat different when i opened it first. There were no interesting graphics on the front page and the headline read Sensex falls to 2832 points. That really got me interested as to what exactly was the matter with the paper. I went on to read further and it said Mobile Incoming calls, now free. I was literally smiling as i read this. It had dawned upon me that these were pieces of information from about a decade ago.

Rahul Joshi (exec editor of the ET), like Rao uncle, had turned the clock about a decade back in history. The front page articles of the then ET were extremely refreshing to say the least. India has truly come a long way from what it was about ten years ago.The present seemed somewhat rosy when I contemplated on the past after reading those information-bits. I just wished i could see 'Tomorrow's present' as well because,we are the ones shaping it by our today's actions.

All this set my neural circuitry in operation. It would really have been great if i could have viewed the future. At this point I just want to be as optimistic and hope that the Indian Economy would be booming to such a major extent that it would enable me to tell the kids of the future, how much their nation's horizons have expanded. Technology, the enabler, will have developed so much as to bring channels like CNBC TV-18 to people's mobile handsets. I envision a fully educated, thoroughly empowered and a well informed India pondering over its investment decisions and opportunities. I truly hope that one day the ET would come up with headlines such as 'Global Warming has completely been stemmed ; Our future is secure' and that I would be able to tell a young reader of this headline -- "Yes, my generation contributed towards the success of this phenomenon"

Well, if my wishes were horses, I would have seen a windfall at Races.